Jordan Waters' Blue Devils are featured in Ecks-Rated Tales From Vegas

Ecks-Rated Tales From Vegas: Merry Christmas & Winners Only From Ecks


A little slippage last week here at LOX which dropped the overall record to 11-6. Still hitting the bank at 65% but we CAN & WILL do better. Gonna make up for it right now with double dip of Christmas cheer on Saturday.

First stop is the Birmingham Bowl featuring Troy against Duke. Both teams have a few things in common. Troy head coach Jon Sumrall just took a job at Tulane and Duke's head guy, Mike Elko, left for Texas A&M. Troy has won five straight bowl games and Duke has won four. That's where the similarities end.

The Trojans from Alabama are EN FUEGO, with TEN straight wins and have covered eight of the last nine. And Troy's QB, Gunnar Watson, has been fabulous, passing for 3,339 yards (61.3%), with 27 TDs and just five INTs. Can't tell you that Duke's backup QB, Grayson Loftis, has the same gaudy numbers.

The Blue Devils #1, Riley Leonard, is off to Notre Dame, leaving the keys to Loftis who has played in just five games with a mediocre 53.7% completion rate. One other name to know for Troy is Kimani Vidal, the Sun Belt's offensive player of the year. In the Sun Belt championship game against a pretty solid Appalachian State defense, Vidal rumbled for 233 yards with FIVE TDs. He has gobbled up 1,582 yards this season and it'll be almost impossible for Duke's decimated defense (five opt outs) to stop Kimani. Standing should to shoulder with the men of Troy for the money!  

Hawai'i Bowl Pick

Hope you're planning to stay up late because we're heading to the Islands and gonna grab San Jose State -10 points in the Hawaii Bowl against Coastal Carolina.

Normally we're not thrilled laying double digits in a bowl game, but every single metric points to San Jose. We always look for teams that roll in on a heater, and MAN is San Jose on fire. The Spartans have won SIX in a row and covered six of the last seven. Since almost every bowl is usually a road game, we look for teams that travel well. And San Jose KNOWS how to pack a bag.

In the last three on the road, they beat New Mexico 52-24, then threw a 35-0 BAGEL at Hawaii. And yes, on the very same field where this bowl game is being played. They closed out the season with a 37-31 W at UNLV.

And of course, if we look for teams that are hot, then we naturally check out the cold fish. Put Coastal Carolina in the frigid zone. The Chanticleers, maybe my favorite nickname in all of college football, were pretty ugly down the stretch.

They came up on the short end of a 27-21 score against Army, ARMY, and were blown away, AT HOME, by James Madison, 56-14. OUCH! Want more? Gotcha. Coastal QB Grayson McCall has opted out, backup QB Jarrett Guest has opted out, which means the Chanticleers will be forced to go with their THIRD STRING QB, redshirt freshman, Ethan Vasko.

On the other side of the field, the QB situation could not be in better hands. It’s a homecoming for Chevan Cordeiro who grew up in Honolulu, went to Saint Louis School and backed up a guy you might have heard of, Tua Tagovailoa.

He played four seasons for the Rainbow Warriors before transferring to San Jose, so he KNOWS EVERY BLADE OF GRASS/TURF on the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex field. In his two years at San Jose, he has passed for 5,809 yards, a 61% completion rate, with 42 TDs and just 10 INTs. Pushing my chips ALL IN on the Spartans from San Jose!  

With my traditional mug of Eggnog and Baileys Irish Cream in my hand and raised high, wishing a Merry & Happy to all my millions!!!


Benjamin Eckstein is a nationally syndicated sportswriter/oddsmaker. His column, America's Line, with the Ecks & Bacon appetizer, has run in the New York Daily News and over 100 other papers since 1988. You can follow him online at He is beloved by most, when he picks winners, and detested by others, when he picks the occasional loser. If you wanna piece of Eck, hit his

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